With her stir fry recipe, Vegetable-Mango Beef Stir Fry, amateur home cook Sheryl Little of Sherwood, Ark., won the checkoff-funded 29th National Beef Cook-Off® $25,000 "Best of Beef" grand prize, topping recipes from 19 other finalists around the country. Sheryl was announced as the grand prize winner at the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington D.C. Her winning recipe, along with other finalist recipes, will be demonstrated on the show floor by top chef's and food experts, Mary Beth Albright, Food Network Star finalist, season seven; Susan Holt, chef and instructor at CulinAeire; and Aviva Goldfarb, founder and author of The Six O'Clock Scramble.
This year's contest encouraged all home cooks and entertaining enthusiasts to submit their delicious recipes demonstrating the convenience, nutritional and versatility benefits of cooking with beef. The winning Vegetable-Mango Beef Stir Fry recipe featured boneless beef top sirloin steaks, fresh sugar snap peas, red bell peppers and fresh mango tossed with garlic and low sodium soy sauce and served over brown or white rice. In addition, the dish is an excellent source of fiber, protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline.
Each contest recipe was submitted in one of four categories, including the 5:30 PM Dinner Crunch, Retro Recipes Revived, Fuel Up with Beef or Stir Crazy Solutions. Recipes were judged by a panel of esteemed food journalists and bloggers back in July of this year. Criteria included: taste, appearance, convenient preparation and nutritional balance. The judges raved about Little's recipe because of its unique combination of fresh fruit and vegetables and grain ingredients and her use of one of the 29 Lean Beef Cuts.
The 2011 judges included: Julie Miltenberg, editor, Family Circle; Niesha Lofing, food editor, Sacramento Bee; Sandy Hu, founder, Special Fork.com and Kristina Vanni, writer, Better Recipes.com.
"I am thrilled to be named the winner of this year's Cook-Off," says Little. "I grew up in the kitchen and there is nothing I'd rather do than create new recipes. I enjoy working with beef too because it's a great source of protein and the wide variety of cuts give you countless ways to get creative in the kitchen. The Stir Crazy category gave me the opportunity to use fruits and vegetables that really compliment the beef and also create a colorful, beautiful and delicious recipe."
During its 35-year history, the Cook-Off has received accolades and the support of many notable culinary experts and is considered to be among the top three cooking contests in the nation.
"We're delighted to name Sheryl Little and her Vegetable-Mango Beef Stir Fry recipe as the grand prize winner," says Sherry Hill, National Beef Cook-Off program director. "All of our finalists' recipes were exceptional; perfect examples of how to create delicious, quick and easy and nutritious beef meals in innovative ways."
In addition to the "Best of Beef" $25,000 Grand Prize, four cash prizes were awarded in four categories. The winner in each category received $3,000. This year's category winners are:
Tedd Smith, Mount Vernon, NY: Asian Barbecued Skirt Steak; Contest Category: 5:30 PM Dinner Crunch
Peggy Calhoun, Portland, OR: Steppin' Up Beef Fried Rice; Contest Category: Retro Recipes Revived
Edwina Gadsby, Great Falls, MT: Asian Beef Sandwiches with Slaw; Contest Category: Fuel Up with Beef
Ellen Verdugo, Gloucester, MA: Flash in the Pan Stir-Fry; Contest Category: Stir Crazy Solutions